I am grateful to everyone who has taken me hunting: friends, club members, professional guides, dog trainers, outfitters, and lodge and preserve operators. From each, I’ve heard fascinating stories, seen some incredible country, and gleaned bits and pieces of information that I now share with you.
Next time you are lucky enough to be invited hunting, be sure to savor the experience, not just for the birds in the bag but for the knowledge and insights you’ll have gained. Acknowledge the provider appropriately with a quid-pro-quo, something in a bottle, or a heartfelt “thank you.”
I wish I could thank everyone personally. You know who you are, and please know that I appreciate your contributions to my, and now many others’, hunting experiences.
– If your dog is licking all the medicine off a wound, put something tastier on another accessible part of his body.
– Use small bits of uncooked hot dog as your food reward when training pup. Dogs swallow them after one quick chomp so aren’t distracted from your next com
mand by noisy, crunchy chewing. They also emit quite an aroma so have long-distance reward value.
– Want another reason to approach your dog from the front? He’s not right under the muzzle blast and its deafening effect. He’ll have one less excuse for not hearing your commands.
– When training a complex command, start with the last part and add the other parts in reverse order. When you get to the beginning, it will be a downhill ride.
– As the day goes on and ground heats up, warm air rises from the bottom of draws, valleys, river canyons, creating an uphill or upstream breeze almost everywhere. As the sun rises, hunt from above the best bird hideouts and you’ll help your dog intercept scent as he leads you along a ridgeline or down a draw.
– Sports shows – especially on the last day – can be a bargain-hunters’ paradise, whether you’re shopping for gear or a guided trip.